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Celebrating National Families Week 2011



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Media Releases Celebrating National Families Week 2011

Date: 17/05/2011

The popular Raising Children website has been expanded to provide extra support for parents of teenagers and was today officially launched by the Minister for Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, Jenny Macklin.

Minister Macklin also today announced that the Australian Government is providing more than $9 million over the next three years for the Raising Children Network. The Network's website www.raisingchildren.net.au is a trusted source of information for millions of Australian families with more than 18 million hits since it started in 2006.

Today's event marks National Families Week for 2011 and comes a week after the Federal Budget delivered more support for families, particularly those under financial pressure.

Just as the Raising Children Network is expanding support for parents raising teenagers, the Government is increasing support for families with teenagers through this year's Budget.

The Government recognises that the cost of raising children does not fall as children get older.

Over the next five years, the families of around 650,000 teenagers could be eligible for up to $4,200 extra each year in family assistance if their teenager aged 16 to 19 stays in school or a vocational equivalent.

This significant increase in family assistance costs $771.9 million over the next five years and will help families with the cost of raising older teenagers and encourage teenagers to stay in school.

And for families just starting out in their caring responsibilities, Australia's first Paid Parental Leave scheme started on 1 January and already around 50,000 parents have applied for support so they can spend more time at home with their new baby.

The Federal Budget also includes:

• New requirements for families on an income support payment to help make sure children start school ready to learn by having a pre-school health assessment;

• Around $480 million for new mental health services for children and young people, and more than $50 million for new mental health respite services as part of the Government's $2.2 billion investment in mental health;

• Almost $150 million for the Better Start for Children with Disability initiative to help families caring for a child cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, Fragile X syndrome, and sight or hearing impairments access vital early intervention services.

• An injection of $200 million to provide extra support for students with disability in Australian schools. • More support, and new responsibilities, for teenage parents and jobless families in ten highly disadvantaged communities. • New arrangements to support and reward single parents to engage in work.

National Families Week is a time to recognise and celebrate the strength, resilience and capacity of families. It is a chance for families to share time together, celebrate and have fun, catch up with friends and neighbours, help others or simply take the time to talk with and listen to each other.

For further information about National Families Week events visit: www.familiesaustralia.org.au